The best toys and the easiest toddler activities are comprised of 100% common household items. Don’t believe me? Give your kids your keys or throw them a water bottle and watch them go crazy for an hour playing with the best thing since sliced bread. Have you tried the post-it pick up game? It’s literally so easy to put together, and can be made with things you already have.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, before you hit the toy store or amazon for fun $50 toys to keep your kids busy; check inside your cupboards or even your mail (check out this easy newspaper sensory activity) for items you already have that you can transform into impactful toys. I threw this easy, low prep toddler play tray together in 5 minutes, and watched him play for over in an hour.
If you are looking for EASY toddler activities at home indoors, you’ve found the perfect activity.
Low Prep Toddler Activity Essentials
If you haven’t already let your kids go HAM on the tupperware drawer that is a SOLID place to start. One day, break the child locks off your cabinets (I don’t mean break, just open them up) and let them stack, unstack, throw, mix and un-mix your Tupperware around. My son’s FAVORITE thing to do is try and put the lids on and off each piece of Tupperware. It’s truly the EASIEST play idea ever.
Once they have gotten bored of smashing and smooshing around your tupperware it’s time to reinvent the wheel.
I slowly started collecting and saving all sorts of random bottles and containers knowing that I would surprise my kiddo with a fun play tray down the road.
So…. before you throw away ANYTHING think to yourself. Can this easily be cleaned and transformed into a toy that’s not a toy? These containers should be plastic, so they are bang, drop and plop proof, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking.
My favorite non-toy/best toy containers:
- Plastic vitamin bottles
- Sour cream containers
- Yogurt containers
- Cottage cheese containers
- Juice bottles
- Spice containers
- Condiment containers
Once you have several different sized items, throw them together on a serving tray or any sort of plastic surface and watch them go to town! I added counting bears to the mix, so he could shake the containers, and jiggle them around.
If you don’t have counting bears (which I HIGHLY recommend) find other plastic items from around the house that you could add to the mix.
We also added some wooden spoons, and measuring cups to he mix. If your child isn’t sure how to play, make sure you do some modeling to show them how to scoop, and plop and put the caps back on and off. There are NO rules here so just go with the pace of your toddler.
For older kids, ask them to create a “recipe” such as: in the big container I need four blue bears, three yellow bears, etc.
Show them how to put the lids on and off, and try to make them guess which lids fit on which containers.
When play time is over ask your tot to help you clean up, and put them away for play at another time. I always keep ours at arm’s length.
These same containers also would work PERFECT for your outdoor water table.